Home Page The Publication The Editor Contact Information Insurance Key issues Book Subscribe

Vol. 5, Iss. 10
October 12, 2016

“Related Acts” Provisions: The Definitive Article
John Zulkey Of McCullough, Campbell & Lane Pens A Masterpiece


There are certain cases that I almost never address in Coverage Opinions. This list includes those involving “related acts” provisions. These are the provisions, contained in some liability policies (usually the “claims made” variety), that group together claims that have some similarity.

Cases involving “related acts” provisions can be monumentally important. They can determine that more than one claim shall be treated as a single claim, thereby impacting the limits of liability available for a loss. They can result in certain claims being deemed to have been first made when an earlier claim was made, thereby causing a claim to fail to satisfy a “claims made” policy’s “timing requirements.” Other potential impacts of “related acts” provisions also exist.

Yet, despite their importance, I rarely address “related acts” cases in CO. That’s because they have a significant uniqueness about them. Their facts often vary widely and outcomes are usually driven by the specific “related acts” provisions at issue. As a result, decisions can be difficult to square and use as predictors for future disputes. Coverage Opinions generally focuses on cases that have the ability to influence future disputes. So, given their fingerprint-like quality, cases involving “related acts” provisions are simply not good candidates for inclusion in CO.

Coverage attorney John Zulkey recognizes this aspect of “related acts” cases. But, unlike me, who uses it as a reason to flee from them, John runs in head first. He has just published the definitive article on “related acts” provisions: “Related Acts Provisions: Patterns Amidst the Chaos,” 50 Val. U. L. Rev. 633 (2016).

The article is a whopper – clocking in at 40 pages and over 23,000 words. If the font were a little larger, and the footnotes added into the text, it could be made into a short book.

The article’s title, Patterns Amidst the Chaos, describes it perfectly: “Courts and commentators both have remarked on the perceived lack of consistency between decisions on Related Acts Provisions. This Article’s purpose is to apprise the reader of trends that exist amongst similar fact patterns and to guide the reader to relevant case law that will aid in making the argument for or against relatedness.”

A good chuck of the article focuses on the promised patterns. It examines factors that determine relatedness, looking at such things as identity of claimants, identity of causes, pattern of activity, timing of the acts and identity of underlying results. Patterns are also demonstrated through an examination of several different types of claims and their relatedness, such as financial/business, legal malpractice, medical malpractice, accountants, insurance producers, employee dishonesty, design contractor, employment misconduct, sexual molestation and public entities.

I can’t even imagine the time that it took to put this together. The number of case citations and descriptions is breathtaking. John Zulkey deserves much credit for tackling such a challenging and complex issue and his article is a serious contribution to the study of related acts provisions.

“Related Acts Provisions: Patterns Amidst the Chaos,” 50 Val. U. L. Rev. 633 (2016) can be easily accessed at the McCullough, Campbell & Lane website – www.mcandl.com. [Click on Publications.]

John Zulkey is an attorney with McCullough, Campbell & Lane LLP in Chicago. He has experience in a wide range of coverage issues and a specialization in coverage for professional liability claims. John drafted the chapters for Illinois and Missouri in the Defense Research Institute’s 50-state survey of the law of professional liability coverage and is a former editor for The CGL Reporter. His work on Related Acts Provisions has been cited by state and federal courts and published in the Tort Trials & Insurance Practice Law Journal, the Valparaiso Law Review, the DRI’s For The Defense, and by the International Association of Claim Professionals. John is actively involved in the Chicago Bar Association, serving as an investigator on the Judicial Evaluation Committee and as Chair for the Civil Practice Committee. He is a 4-year veteran of the U.S. Army. He can be reached at jzulkey@mcandl.com.

Website by Balderrama Design Copyright Randy Maniloff All Rights Reserved